People – Meet Our Group


Michael F. Wangler, MD

Michael F. Wangler, MD

The care of children, particularly those with genetic disorders, is a very important privilege that requires training, dedication and a team approach. I feel, as many who trained under him that the late Ralph Feigin gave us a roadmap for what we do at Baylor and Texas Children's in navigating the future of medicine and the challenges we face in the post-genomic era. I am committed to provide the best care for my patients with the most powerful technology and the most current knowledge, but to remain practical and to provide it in a manner that includes compassion and humanity in medical care. Our department also provides a strong mingling of research and clinical care, and the importance of success in research cannot be underestimated with so many genetic disorders that remain untreatable or for which the diagnostic process is not optimal. I am particularly focused on peroxisomal disorders, a rare group of pediatric brain disorders due to a particular defect in body chemistry. I am also actively researching intestinal motility disorders which represent a group of rare, difficult-to-treat diseases.

To learn more: Texas Children's NRI Faculty Profile

Download CV: Michael Wangler CV

Download Biosketch: Wangler Biographical Sketch


Lab Manager

Hillary Graves, PhD

Hillary Graves, Ph.D.

I am a Staff Scientist and a proud contributor to the UDN, SFARI, and Peroxisome Biogenesis Disorder projects that are ongoing in the Wangler lab. We are part of a cutting edge environment dedicated to advancing our understanding of debilitating human diseases. I lend my expertise in molecular biology, genetics, and cell biology to the advancement of all projects in the lab, in addition to acting as lab manager. As a Drosophila geneticist for almost 20 years, my prior training in topics such as developmental neuroscience, growth control, and chromatin regulation give me a unique perspective into the mechanisms underlying the diseases we study in the lab.

Download CV: Hillary Graves' CV


The SFARI Team

SFARI
Xi Luo, Ph.D.

Xi Luo, Ph.D.

The Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) aims to bring together clinical and research experts from across the United States to solve the most challenging medical mysteries using advanced technologies. The Simons Foundation Autism Research Initivate (SFARI) funds innovative research to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. I am a member of the UDN-SFARI team at the Drosophila Core (DC) of the Model Organism Screening Center (MOSC). My goal is to take advantage of our cumulative knowledge and expertise as well as novel technologies and resources to provide in vivo functional information for evolutionarily conserved genes and determine the potential pathogenicity of variants found in UDN and SFARI patients. In addition, I am particularly interested in characterizing the importance of the patients’ mutations in the protein structure to provide critical insights into the molecular mechanisms and biological pathways underlying the human rare disease.

Download CV: Xi Luo CV

Ning Liu, Ph.D.

Ning Liu, Ph.D.

The developing of the Whole-Exome Sequencing (WES) and Whole-Genome Sequencing (WGS) provide Powerful clinical diagnostic tools to identify novel disease genes and variants from patients with undiagnosed rare diseases. My research focuses on establishing and testing a pipeline for the characterization of human genes function using Drosophila as a model organism, further investigating the molecular and genetic mechanism by which human mutations lead to certain disease phenotypes. Also, I am interested in generating strategies and tools in Drosophila to determine the function of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) candidate genes in the fly nervous system.

Download CV: Ning Liu CV

Yu-Hsin Chao

Yu-Hsin Chao

Yu-Hsin has been working side-by-side with Dr. Wangler on a number of projects including peroxisomal biogenesis in Drosophila, DNM1L mutation analysis and human DNA sequence analysis. Her background in molecular biology and biochemistry has made her an integral team member in the lab.


In Collaboration With:

The UDN Team

The UDN Team

The Yamamoto Lab

https://www.bcm.edu/people/view/shinya-yamamoto

SFARI Functional Screens

https://sfari.org/updates-and-events/sfari-news/2015/sfari-announces-functional-screen-of-autism-associated-variants-awardees

And In Collaboration With:

Bellen Lab

Bellen Lab
http://flypush.imgen.bcm.tmc.edu/lab/index.html

Westerfield Laboratory

http://www.neuro.uoregon.edu/westerf/lab.html

Postlethwait Lab

http://uoneuro.uoregon.edu/ionmain/htdocs/faculty/postlethwait.html

The Yamamoto Lab

https://www.bcm.edu/people/view/shinya-yamamoto

Medical Students- Genetics Track

Sharon Cheng Li

Sharon Cheng Li
Genetics is one of the themes that unite all fields of medicine, and I am privileged to study at an institution that not only places emphasis on exploring the genetic basis of diseases but also has the technology and resources to be a part of initiatives to understand, diagnose, and treat autism as well as other diseases, no matter how rare. My current project involves characterizing the function of the ARID2 gene, which has previously been reported to contribute to intellectual disability phenotypes, and following a patient who was found via whole exome sequencing (WES) to have a de novo truncating mutation in this gene. This not only allows me to learn laboratory techniques and the process of using Drosophila as a model organism, but it also enables me to explore the relationship between research and its application to clinical care, and I hope to take these lessons to heart when thinking about clinical practice.

Meredith Ventura

Meredith Ventura
I first became interested in genetics as an undergraduate at Rice University, and I joined the Bartel Lab, a genetics lab which studies peroxisome biogenesis and function in plants. Now as a medical student, I am very interested in learning more about the diagnosis and care of patients with genetic conditions, especially those patients with peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBD). Peroxisome dysfunction can impact the liver, skeleton, and brain. However, PBD are a spectrum of disease, and patients may have mild to severe findings. Currently my project focuses on describing two patients who had atypical presentations of PBD. By describing these patients’ diagnostic paths, I hope to aid in the diagnosis of future PBD patients with atypical presentations.